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Pembroke A Novel   By: (1852-1930)

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Pembroke A Novel by Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman is a captivating story that transports readers to the idyllic New England countryside. Set in the late 19th century, the novel delves into the lives and relationships of the Pembroke family, uncovering secrets, love, and the timeless struggle between tradition and progress.

The narrative begins with the introduction of the Pembroke siblings, Eunice and Theodore, as they inherit their ancestral home after their father's unexpected passing. Both characters serve as contrasting archetypes, each representing the opposing values of their time. Eunice stands for tradition, clinging to the old ways and desperately clinging to societal expectations. Her reserved nature and adherence to conventions make her seem almost anachronistic in the rapidly changing world around her.

On the other hand, Theodore embodies progress and modernity, bringing with him new ideas and aspirations. His desire to transform the family estate into a productive farm and his dedication to the emerging industrial revolution reflects the changing landscape of the era. Freeman expertly captures the tension between these two characters and their divergent ideologies, intertwining their personal journeys to create a compelling familial drama.

Throughout the novel, Freeman masterfully explores themes of societal expectations, gender roles, and class divisions of the time. She delves into the challenges faced by women in society, as Eunice struggles to find her place in a world that wants to confine her to traditional roles. The author's keen observations and nuanced portrayal of her female characters highlight the limitations imposed on them by society, prompting readers to question the prevailing norms of the era.

Freeman's writing style is evocative and rich in detail, immersing readers in the lush landscapes of Pembroke and vividly depicting the customs and values of the time. Her strong command of characterization breathes life into the Pembroke family, making them feel relatable and human. From the vivid descriptions of Eunice's inner struggle to Theodore's fierce passion for progress, each character is complex and multi-dimensional, allowing readers to connect with their stories on a deeper level.

One aspect that stood out in Pembroke A Novel is the sense of place Freeman brilliantly creates. The picturesque setting of the New England countryside acts as a character in its own right, influencing the actions and decisions of the Pembroke family. The author's attention to detail immerses readers in the rustic charm of the landscape, creating a stunning backdrop against which the personal dramas unfold.

Overall, Pembroke A Novel by Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman is a remarkable work that delves into the human condition, societal expectations, and the struggle for self-fulfillment during a time of great change. With its engaging plot, powerful themes, and beautifully drawn characters, this novel is a must-read for those who appreciate historical fiction and introspective storytelling. Freeman's insightful exploration of tradition versus progress challenges readers to reflect on their own lives and the constraints imposed by the societies in which they live.

First Page:

Transcriber's Note: The images for this text were scanned from the 1894 edition.


Mary E. Wilkins

Harper & Brothers Publishers; New York: 1900

[Illustration: "'It's beautiful,' Rose said"]

Introductory Sketch

Pembroke was originally intended as a study of the human will in several New England characters, in different phases of disease and abnormal development, and to prove, especially in the most marked case, the truth of a theory that its cure depended entirely upon the capacity of the individual for a love which could rise above all considerations of self, as Barnabas Thayer's love for Charlotte Barnard finally did.

While Barnabas Thayer is the most pronounced exemplification of this theory, and while he, being drawn from life, originally suggested the scheme of the study, a number of the other characters, notably Deborah Thayer, Richard Alger, and Cephas Barnard, are instances of the same spiritual disease. Barnabas to me was as much the victim of disease as a man with curvature of the spine; he was incapable of straightening himself to his former stature until he had laid hands upon a more purely unselfish love than he had ever known, through his anxiety for Charlotte, and so raised himself to his own level.

When I make use of the term abnormal, I do not mean unusual in any sense... Continue reading book >>

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